In updated figured posted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website Saturday, the death toll in a rare fungal meningitis outbreak has risen to seven.
The outbreak, which has infected headlines around the country, has spread to more than 91 people across nine states. Minnesota and Ohio are the two latest states to report confirmed cases linked to a steroid produced by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts. While the steroid has been recalled, health officials are scrambling frantically to notify anyone who may have been injected with it.
The widening outbreak has alarmed U.S. health officials and concerned citizens, as focused attention has shifted towards regulating pharmaceutical companies like the one that produced the drugs, the New England Compounding Center Inc. in Framingham, Massachusetts.
The company shipped 17,676 vials of the steroid methylprednisolone acetate to 76 facilities in 23 states from July through September, and is used as a painkiller, usually for the back, and could have been injected in thousands of patients.
This form of meningitis is not contagious, the CDC says. Symptoms include fever, headache, nausea and neurological problems that would be consistent with deep brain stroke. For those who are looking to see whom received vials from the infected lots, a list of the facilities can be found online HERE.
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